Well the year started off at a party in London. Then during a few days at my parents house I ran the round Aldershot long - o. I didn't really fancy the full course (which was won in 3hr 16mins), so I ran the half which turned out to be a bit short. Results here. Also managed to start seeing Liis before back to work. Nothing very exciting for a few weeks then. Did a '10km' x-c race (results here) and a fair bit of teaching and coaching. Picked up a cold just before the county x-c champs so didn't run that. That meant I didn't get picked for the county team which was a sceondary goal for the winter. I also missed the Warrior O-Trial which is a good tough weekend every January up in the Lake District. Managed the middle race but felt pretty bad so missed the ultra long the next day. Just to round off a mediocre January, at the British Night Champs I had headlamp problems from the start, and it failed completely about a third of the way round. The next day I won the first National event of the year, the Concorde Chase, at Cold Ash ahead of Matt Crane . Results here.
First GB squad weekend of the year at Lilleshall Abbey. Came 2nd in a sprint race around the grounds, one second in front of a certain Mr Stevenson (results here). Also a long training on Cannock Chase the next day.
The last two weeks of February I had off work, the first one as all the schools were on half term, the second because the GB Squad had a 'Warm' Weather Training Camp in Spain. Liis and I went up to the Lake District for four days to do some sight seeing and some training.
The weather was awful though, and this photo was taken during the only five minutes you could see more than about 50 metres.
Then it was off to Spain for WWT. A few of us went out a bit early and stayed up in the mountains. Those couple of days were absolutely fantastic. The weather was fab and we did some awesome training, including a race on this terrain (will try and put some maps up soon)
Some of the guys did some climbing and we basically just chilled out. Then the rest of the team joined us, we moved to a hotel further south, and out of the mountains, and it suddenly turned pretty cold. It even started snowing a couple of times
Was a good week with a mixture of fast and slow training, and a contrast between the dunes on the coast and the more traditional Spanish terrain inland and in the mountains. At the end of the week we took part in the Costa Calida Trophy, with a World Ranking Event Classic Race on day 1 and a chasing start on day 2. Day 1 results here . After a few days in the lake district and a hard 10 days training in Spain I was pretty tired and made quite a few mistakes (mostly in the circle) on a very detailed area. Day 2 was much better on the larger scale map, and I had a really good strong race with only one small mistake. Coupled with the fact that several runners ahead of me on day 1 didn't start, I managed to pull up quite a few places. Results here.
Few weeks working followed by another week off for BUSA and a training camp :). No longer a student, I am still eligible for the World Students Championships being held in the Slovak Repubilc this summer. The selection races for the team are BUSA championships, the British Championships and the Scottish Championships in May. This also marks the start of the main elite season in Britain, with a lot of top runners present including senior squad members Oli Johnson, Matt Crane, Mark Nixon and myself, as well as former GB junior Murray Strain who took victory in the individual race (results here). I managed a non-comp 3rd place which I was happy with, but having lead the race for a bit early on I made some mistakes and was caught by Murray. BUSA parties are always memorable (well actually there is one i don't remember much of....), and offer ideal preparation for the relay the next day. We woke up to find Edinburgh and Scotland covered in snow which added some interest to what might otherwise might have been a slightly dull relay.
In a non-competitive team with Ian Nixon and Dave Sprot, I had a reasonable run on last leg but lacked the motivation (and speed?) to keep up with Murray in the battle for 2nd place.
Then it was time for a mini training camp in the Lake District with some of the people I coach. The journey down was the slowest I have ever driven in the UK, with the entire north of the country covered by the most snow for years. We eventually arrived in the Lake District to find all the training areas under at least a foot of snow (some several feet). We decided to carry on anyway though and improvised - some days travelling quite a bit to get away from the snow.
Some days running and orienteering proved impossible....
....so we looked for other ways to entertain ourselves...
...including hill training with sleds...
Snow or not, the lake district is one of the most beautiful places in Britain as you can see from these pictures and the one at the top.
We still managed to do a fair bit of training, including a fell race (my first ever) which I came 2nd in. The events at the weekend were both cancelled, but we took part in an informal event on Loughrigg in the snow. Results here.
to be continued...